Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Tag

Garlic & Integtity?

Garlic. Just mentioning the word evokes memory of how it smells. I have a clove of garlic in my hand. Its strong, pungent odor assails the taste buds and makes my mouth water. I peel off the paper-like skin. My nose stings and tears fill my eyes. Garlic reeks through the house as I chop it into tiny pieces and place it in stew.
Garlic flavor permeates the vegetables and meat in the stew, flavoring everything—even steam billowing from the boiling pot smells like garlic.
Garlic is garlic inside and out, and will always be garlic, no matter how I chop it, slice it, or cook it. My fingers reek of garlic. Garlic saturates everything it touches. It doesn’t go away easily. Tomorrow, the kitchen will still smell of garlic. After eating the stew, my breath, even my skin will smell of garlic.
Daniel of the Old Testament was like garlic inside and out. Not because he smelled, but because a Godly integrity saturated him through and through. It penetrated everything he touched—everything he did. Daniel’s character had a strong quality, difficult to corrupt, and difficult to suppress. He couldn’t hide it—it is who he was.
When he was elevated (Daniel Chapter 5) to be over King Darius’ entire kingdom, it was because of his integrity. When jealousy arose among the other leaders, they tried to destroy him by watching for anything he might have done amiss. But we are told they could not find any ground to accuse him of any wrongdoing. His integrity was impeccable. They had to manufacture a way to trap him by passing a law they knew his faith would not let him obey. They passed a law that everyone in the kingdom must pray only to Darius or die.
Daniel immediately went into his chamber to pray and to worship God. His enemies caught him in the act of praying to the one true God.
I have discovered that a person’s character is who he is. It suffuses everything he touches, everything he does, in much the same way. It is who people perceive him to be. Integrity is a condition that does not vary with circumstances of life or personal preferences. I have learned that a person of strong integrity will be strong in character. Conversely, a person of weak integrity will be weak in character.
Is integrity a condition that varies with circumstances of life or personal preferences? I think integrity is an ethical quality. It is moral excellence. It is honesty. It is innocence of motive. It does not have bad intent or improper behavior. Daniel was filled with the Spirit of God. He worshiped God only. He depended on God for everything. Daniel’s integrity was righteousness of the heart. It was a transparency of Godly motive. It saturated him through and through. It nearly cost him his life.
Now I am faced with a question. Will I allow God to fill me with His holiness? Will I let Him infuse me with the odor of righteous integrity?

Christlike Discipleship

My throat constricted, and my fingers started to clinch involuntarily, as I listened to my friend, a former university classmate, tell me he no longer attends an organized, denominational church, but is still living a fruitful Christian life. In fact, he no longer attends any church, because, he said, “they are all designed, ruled, and organized by man, and not God… I can be a better, stronger Christian on my own, doing my own Bible studies and private devotions”.  This person was formerly a fellow pastor and evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene.

Although this was a shock for me,  I was not surprised by his perception and decision, which is becoming increasingly common.  What is the cause? Why are we losing these people? Although I believe there are many contributing causes, one of the greatest is packed into the word “discipleship”.

May I offer an over-simplified perspective on the term “discipleship”? Discipleship is “investment”. Investment in people is the basis, the core, of discipleship. It goes far deeper than “influence”, or seminars, or classroom teaching. It forms the very basic premise behind God’s prevenient grace. It is investment in relationships with people,  a personal, in-depth, sometimes painful, investment. It is Christlike investment to walk as Jesus walked.

God sent His Son to repair a broken relationship with His greatest creation, humanity.  He created us for relationship with Him.  That relationship was broken through Adam’s sin. In Jesus, what an investment He made! The very blood and life of His Son, shed on the cross of Calvary that we might have life, and relationship with Him.

Jesus was the Great Disciple-maker. He invested Himself in relationship with His disciples. He taught them, disciplined them, mentored them, lived with them, and died for them. He showed them what it meant to be Spirit filled, passionate, compassionate, sacrificial, and humble. He showed them how to be disciple-makers.

I want to walk as Jesus walked!

He walked in the complete, overpowering presence of God and His Holy Spirit. He walked in deepest love and compassion. He walked in all the spiritual authority He was given. He walked in holy humility with an indomitable passion for the lost and dying world. Jesus wept over those who were lost, without a shepherd, wandering blindly through life. He invested His tears, His compassion – true compassion – into His disciples, so they could see and feel beyond themselves to others who were in grave spiritual need. He made disciples. Discipleship is every believer’s privilege and responsibility. We all are responsible to be a disciple, and to make disciples.

Discipleship1To be a disciple-maker, we must first be a disciple. That means being personally discipled until our last breath. Secondly, we must disciple others, both formally and informally – being Christlike wherever we are, including intentionally influencing the non-Christian and unsaved toward right relationship with Jesus. Third, we must disciple other Christians toward Christian maturity – intentionally and strategically influencing Christians to know and follow Jesus; to be Christlike, Holy Spirit filled, entirely sanctified Christians. Fourth, we must disciple maturing Christians to become disciple-makers who mentor others. And fifth, we must disciple maturing Christian disciple-makers to intentionally and sacrificially help others in making Christlike disciples.

Africa Nazarene Women Clergy

Official site for female Nazarene clergy in Africa

Jetpack — Your all-in-one WordPress plugin for design, marketing, and security

Your all-in-one WordPress plugin for design, marketing, and security.

As I Come Singing. . .

Christian song lyrics to inspire you

Theology in Overalls

Where Theology Meets Everyday Life

servinginhisvineyard

Ministry in Missions

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